My Stories, Writing

Bloody Fabulous and a title poll

Rather belated, but urban fantasy anthology about fashion Bloody Fabulous, ed. Ekaterina Sedia, was out in October. My story is in it! You can get a copy from Amazon or Book Depository, and there’s an ebook version as well. My story THE FIRST WITCH OF DAMANSARA is about annoying family members and pretty dresses.

Vivian’s late grandmother was a witch–which is just a way of saying she was a woman of unusual insight. Vivian, in contrast, had a mind like a hi-tech blender. She was sharp and purposeful, but she did not understand magic.

This used to be a problem. Magic ran in the family. Even her mother’s second cousin who was adopted did small spells on the side. She sold these from a stall in Kota Bharu. Her main wares were various types of fruit fried in batter, but if you bought five pisang or cempedak goreng, she threw in a jampi for free.

Vivian is an accountant. I’ve realised I use accountants too often in my stories, as a sort of symbol of order and rationality. I must diversify. Why should accountants take on all the fictive burden of championing order? Why not plumbers, transfer pricing specialists, fish feed salespeople, corporate communications executives?


I am trying to decide what I would call a collection of short stories by me. Awesome Title of Awesomeness is the current working title, but it probably won’t do. What proposed title do you like best?

1) Here, There and Elsewhere (I think this is a bit boring, but Cephas likes it. It’s because the collection would be organised according to setting, with stories set in Malaysia, overseas, and in other places (e.g. the Moon) grouped accordingly.)

2) Between Worlds

3) The House of Aunts

4) One-Day Travelcard for Fairyland

5) First National Forum on the Position of Minorities in Malaysia

They are none of them too good, are they? I would like something quite hip, but not offensively so. I am open to suggestions! My stories are mostly about sensible girls or women dealing with a puzzling world. Maybe I should call it The Book of Accountants.


8 thoughts on “Bloody Fabulous and a title poll

  1. Doug says:

    3) sounds best to me =) I remember that as one of my favourite stories of yours and the title drew me in immediately. It’d work excellently as a title for an anthology!

    • Zen says:

      That’s really interesting — I hadn’t realised that title was so popular. Thanks for letting me know, and I’m glad you liked the story!

    • Zen says:

      With Aunts! :D I like the idea of Accountants in Fairyland, but it is a bit detached from the contents of the actual collection. Maybe I’ll write a story to fit the title …

  2. The House of Aunts is a lovely and excellent story and it does have that “titled after a popular/longer story in the collection” ring to it. I’m sorta partial to the First National Forum title too, it’s got a quirky feel to it, but I feel like the main drawback to that one is it might not sound speculative to the lay reader?

    • Zen says:

      “I’m sorta partial to the First National Forum title too, it’s got a quirky feel to it, but I feel like the main drawback to that one is it might not sound speculative to the lay reader?”

      Yeah, it’s the sort of title that needs in a speculative fiction magazine so the joke is clear. Thanks for the data point! It is useful that The House of Aunts is snappy, apparently quite attractive as a title, AND the title of what would be the longest story in the collection.

  3. I’m digging the new site look, Zen!

    I’d go with The House of Aunts [and other stories]. The title is unusual, and the length is just right. First National Forum may be a misleading title for an anthology of fiction, and it’s a tad mouthy. You want people to talk about your book(s).

    Which publisher are you going with? All the best!

    • Zen says:

      Thanks, Fadz! Yeah, I find First National Forum funny but as I said to Gabe, it really needs context for the joke to work.

      I’m planning to query a few different Malaysian/Singaporean publishers, identified by dint of going into MPH and looking at the inside covers of all the local-ish short story collections I could find. :)

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